Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick Appearance on The Merv Griffin Show (1965)

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Andy Warhol wasn’t exactly a talk show host’s dream guest. He was certainly a big “get” when he appeared, along with at-the-time ‘It Girl’ Edie Sedgwick, on The Merv Griffin show, but he was always squirrely with interviewers. He gave short answers, elucidating little. He once claimed that everything you needed to know about him, and about his work, was there “on the surface.” [1]

Related: Video of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg Hanging Out in NYC

Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick ‘The Merv Griffin Show’ Appearance

Short answers are one thing, but the Merv Griffin appearance started with not even that – Ms. Sedgwick informing Merv Griffin that Warhol would be whispering all his answers to herself, and that she would then relay the answers. This all seems rather put on and unnecessary, and eventually even Warhol seems to realize this as he gives up his mime routine and starts answering questions, albeit in his usual brief way. Warhol had just given up painting in the traditional sense, in favor of pursuing silk-screening, photography, oxidation paintings, and film making. Sedgwick was, of course, one of his earliest “Superstars,” appearing in many of the Warhol Factory produced films, such as Poor Little Rich Girl.

Transcript:

Merv Griffin: Pop art, op art, underground movies, call it what you will – these two are the leaders. No party in New York is considered a success unless they are there. It’s hard to explain this young lady and man. They say they don’t want to be explained. One is a beautiful actress, and she calls herself a superstar. The other is a young man named Andy Warhol, creator of pop art. So here are the two leading exponents of the new scene: Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol. [Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick walk onto the set, to the band playing “Pop Goes the Weasel.”]

Griffin (to Sedgwick): I didn’t know you were going to be so formal tonight. I would have taken this tie off here (laughs).

Edie Sedgwick: Oh, I can hardly breathe.

Griffin: What’s the matter?

Sedgwick: It’s so nervewrecking.

Griffin: Is it nervewrecking?

Sedgwick: All these people. I’m not used to having to face all these people.

Griffin: Well, they’re friendly. They’re very friendly.

Sedgwick: Well, this and a very tight jacket makes it a little more frightening. It’s hard to breathe.

Griffin (leaning back): Want us to all blow at you?

Griffin (to Warhol): Good evening, Andy.

Sedgwick: Oh, I must warn you, Andy won’t say a word.

Griffin: Why?

Sedgwick: Um, he’s not used to making really public appearances like this, so I think – he’ll whisper answers to me if you ask him a question. If you want to be prepared.

Griffin: Can I listen while he whispers?

Sedgwick: I’ll whisper to you.

Griffin: Aren’t you going to say one word, Andy? [Warhol shakes his head and mouths “No” before leaning over to Sedgwick to audibly whisper, “Uh, no” in her ear. Sedgwick then whispers this into Griffin’s ear and he leans over and whispers it into his co-host’s ear.]

Renée Taylor: I can understand, because he paints, right?

Griffin: Yes.

Taylor: He paints, so…

Griffin: Some of your most famous paintings of course – I guess the one that brought you to fame was the Campbell’s soup can. Was it not? [Warhol nods.]

Griffin: Right. Then it was the Brillo box, wasn’t it? [Warhol nods.]

Griffin: Right. And are there originals of those, or would you do a lot of them and then people buy? Do you do your own copies?

Warhol: Uh, yes.

Griffin: You do your own copies? Ah. [Audience applause at Warhol having spoken.]

Griffin: Are you specializing – [Audience cheers further, interrupting Griffin. Sedgwick yells “Ah!” and claps, then says “One word” and something else that is inaudible.]

Griffin: I didn’t recognize the voice. Andy are there – have you started something new now, other than the – or are you devoting all of your time to the underground movies?

Warhol: Uh, yes.

Griffin: Yes what? Oh you mean underground movies?

Warhol: Yes.

Griffin: And you’ve given up painting?

Warhol: Yes.

Griffin: Well that’s going to disappoint a lot of op art, pop art collectors – No, you’re not op art.

Warhol: No.

Griffin: Pop art.

Warhol: Yes.

Griffin: Right.

Sedgwick: What is art, anyway?

Griffin: I don’t know.

Sedgwick: It’s like, op, pop, ah dah dah…

Griffin: I’ve always thought an artist carries a certain amount of emotion into a painting. Can you do that in pop art. Is that any kind of an emotional thing for you?

Warhol: No.

Male Guest (unseen): He’s overcome with it!

Griffin: None at all?

Warhol: No.

Griffin: No, I’m being serious, because there are –

Sedgwick: What kind of emotion can you put into a Campbell’s soup can? You know?

Griffin: But then why – My question is why would you paint a Campbell’s soup can?

Sedgwick: Because it’s a part of the culture. It is.

Griffin: I agree. I agree. I think a lot of advertising is something that we recognize, it’s probably the –

Sedgwick: Yeah but the effect of it you might not realize. That’s, art has something to do with the reflection of it. So if you begin seeing it on canvases you start thinking about it. What do we have around us all the time? What do you see the most of? What do you notice?

Griffin: Advertising.

Sedgwick: It’s true.

Griffin: It is true in a sense.

Sedgwick: And that’s where a lot of art talent has to go.

Griffin: But doesn’t something of the artist go into his painting?

Sedgwick: Yes.

Griffin: No, Andy, or yes?

Warhol: No.

Sedgwick: A lot of work, for one thing.

Griffin: Even the masters, there was no emotional involvement with their paintings? The Rembrandts, the Da Vincis?

Sedgwick: That’s a romantic era, that’s not…

Griffin: Are there many collectors for your kind of art?

Warhol: Uh, yes.

Griffin: For example now, if I wanted to buy a Campbell’s soup can or a Brillo box, without going to the supermarket, but, no, I want to buy an Andy Warhol, what would I have to pay? What are they going for now? [Warhol whispers to Sedgwick.]

Sedgwick: He does not know.

Griffin: You’re not involved financially or commercially with any of your enterprises?

Sedgwick: He’s involved, but it’s so involved that he can’t keep track of it. There’s so much money involved, too.

Taylor: Oh, but give Merv a special price if he wants to buy one.

References: 1. “Andy Warhol Biography”. Art Experts.   Photo: Jeff Tidwell on Flickr

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QY Editor

QY Editor

Quotes Yes is an entertainment and lifestyle online magazine. This article was written by the editors.
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Quotes Yes is an entertainment and lifestyle online magazine. This article was written by the editors.
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